Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers contain a hidden word, namely GEL, that “do stuff”.
- 118D. Styling product hidden in eight long puzzle answers : GEL
- 23A. Breakfast item : SAUSAGE LINK
- 33A. Bus station compartment : STORAGE LOCKER
- 43A. Decorative outdoor fixture : CARRIAGE LAMP
- 60A. Category including spacing and margins : PAGE LAYOUT
- 77A. Vehicle usage record : MILEAGE LOG
- 92A. Curbside check-in freebie : LUGGAGE LABEL
- 98A. Broadway director’s concern : STAGE LIGHTING
- 117A. “American Graffiti” director : GEORGE LUCAS
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Udon cousin : SOBA
Soba is a thin Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour. In Japan, the word “soba” tends to be used to describe any thin noodle, in contrast with the thicker noodles that are called udon.
19. Latin 101 verb : AMAS
Amo, amas, amat” … I love, you love, he/she/it loves”, in Latin.
20. Albéniz piano work : IBERIA
Isaac Albéniz was a Spanish Catalan pianist and composer. Albéniz is best remembered for creating works built around motifs from Spanish folk music. Although he wrote these works for piano, many have been transcribed for the guitar and are frequently heard today.
21. Petty of “A League of Their Own” : LORI
Lori Petty is the actress who played the character Kit Keller in the fabulous movie “A League of Their Own”. Petty also played the title role in a 1995 science fiction film called “Tank Girl”.
23. Breakfast item : SAUSAGE LINK
Link sausages are so called as they can come in chains, with each sausage being a link in that chain.
28. Heavy ref. : OED
Oxford English Dictionary (OED)
29. Ancient manuscripts : PAPYRI
The papyrus plant was commonly found in the Nile Delta of Europe. The pith of the plant was used to make a thick, paper-like material on which one could write. This writing material, which became known as papyrus (plural “papyri”), became a competitor for the most popular writing surface of the day known as parchment, which was made from animal skins.
31. Gridiron figure : YARDAGE
We never used the word “gridiron” when I was growing up in Ireland (meaning a grill used for cooking food over an open fire). So, maybe I am excused for finding out relatively recently that a football field gridiron is so called because the layout of yard lines over the field looks like a gridiron used in cooking!
41. Zilch : NIL
We use the term “zilch” to mean “nothing”. Our current usage evolved in the sixties, before which the term was used to describe “meaningless speech”. There was a comic character called Mr. Zilch in the 1930s in “Ballyhoo” magazine. Mr. Zilch’s name probably came from the American college slang “Joe Zilch” that was used in the early 1900s for “an insignificant person”.
49. TV awareness-raiser : PSA
Public service announcement (PSA)
52. Action film props : UZIS
The first Uzi submachine gun was designed in the late 1940s by Major Uziel “Uzi” Gal of the Israel Defense Forces, who gave his name to the gun.
53. Cookie shaped like two of its letters : OREO
How the Oreo cookie came to get its name seems to have been lost in the mists of time. One theory is that it comes from the French “or” meaning “gold”, a reference to the gold color of the original packing. Another suggestion is that the name is the Greek word “oreo” meaning “beautiful, nice, well-done”.
55. 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner : TUTU
Desmond Tutu is a South African, a former Anglican bishop who is an outspoken opponent of apartheid. Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009, among other distinguished awards.
57. Started war? : DEALT
War is a card game, mainly played by young children.
66. Musical with the song “Willkommen” : CABARET
The musical “Cabaret” is based on “I Am a Camera”, a 1951 play written by John Van Druten. In turn, the play was adapted from a novel “Goodbye to Berlin” written by Christopher Isherwood. The action in the musical takes place in the 1930s, in a seedy Berlin cabaret called the Kit Kat Club. “Cabaret” is a great stage musical, although the 1972 film of the musical isn’t one of my favorites.
69. Collie collar danglers : ID TAGS
The collie isn’t actually a breed of dog, but rather the name given to a group of herding dogs that originated in Scotland and Northern England. An obvious (and wonderful) example would be the Border Collie. Many dogs classed as collies don’t have the word “collie” in the name of the breed, for example the Old English Sheepdog and the Shetland Sheepdog.
89. Streamlet : RILL
The word “rill”, meaning a small brook or rivulet, has German roots. It has the same roots as “Rhine”, the name of the major European river.
90. “Leaving Las Vegas” co-star : SHUE
Elisabeth Shue has always been a favorite actress of mine. She has been in several popular films including “The Karate Kid”, “Cocktail”, two of the “Back to the Future” movies, “Leaving Las Vegas”, and my personal favorite “Adventures in Babysitting”. More recently, Shue had a recurring role on the TV crime drama “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”.
Leaving Las Vegas is a 1995 film starring Nicolas Cage as a suicidal alcoholic who tries to drink himself to death in Las Vegas, befriending a prostitute played by Elisabeth Shue along the way. The film is based on a semi-autobiographical novel of the same name written by John O’Brien. Two weeks into production of the movie, O’Brien actually did commit suicide.
91. Decorates mischievously, for short : TPS
TP’ing (toilet papering) is a prank involving the covering of some object or location with rolls and rolls of toilet paper. If you live in Texas or Minnesota, that little “prank” is legal, but if you live here in California it is classed as mischief or vandalism.
94. Yankee manager before Girardi : TORRE
As a manager, Joe Torre was part of four World Series wins, all of them with the New York Yankees baseball team. Torre is an Italian American who was born in Brooklyn, New York. During the run up (pun intended!) to the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Torre carried the Olympic flame part of the way through Florence in Italy, handing it over to the next runner at the famous Ponte Vecchio. I’d guess that was quite a thrill for him …
Joe Girardi is the manager of the New York Yankees baseball team, having taken over from Joe Torre in 2007. Girardi opted to wear the number 27 on his uniform, a visible reminder of his plan to lead the Yankees to their 27th World Series win, a feat that was achieved in 2009.
112. Mason of “The Goodbye Girl” : MARSHA
Actress Marsha Mason’s breakthrough role was the lead in the 1973 movie “Cinderella Liberty”, opposite James Caan. That performance earned her an Oscar nomination, as did her performance in 1977’s “The Goodbye Girl”, this time opposite Richard Dreyfuss. Mason met celebrated playwright Neil Simon in 1973 when he cast her in his Broadway play “The Good Doctor”. That same year, Simon and Marsh became romantically involved and married. More recently, Mason has been playing Patricia Heaton’s mother on the sitcom “The Middle”.
“The Goodbye Girl” is a 1977 film with a screenplay by the great playwright Neil Simon. The movie is a romantic comedy-drama, with the leads played by Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason. “The Goodbye Girl” was adapted into a Broadway musical that opened in 1993 starring Martin Short and Bernadette Peters heading the cast.
117. “American Graffiti” director : GEORGE LUCAS
The producer and director George Lucas has amassed an incredibly large fortune, primarily due to the phenomenal success of his movie franchises “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones”. Worth about $3 billion, Lucas has gone the way of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, agreeing to give half of his fortune to charity as part of “The Giving Pledge”.
The iconic 1973 film “American Graffiti” was directed and co-written by George Lucas. The film cost $775,000 to make, and grossed over $200 million, making it one of the most profitable movies of all time. About 15% of the film’s cost was devoted to licensing the rights to play the songs chosen for the outstanding soundtrack.
119. Kolkata’s locale : ASIA
Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) is the capital of West Bengal, India. Kolkata grew up around a fort that the British built in the area in 1712. Prior to the arrival of the British, there were three villages at the site, one named Kalikata. Kalikata gave its name to the city that eventually developed. This was anglicized to “Calcutta” which became the official name for centuries, until it was changed back to Kolkata in 2001.
121. Mental wherewithal : ACUMEN
“Acumen” is such a lovely word, I think, meaning “keenness of judgment or insight”. “Acumen” is Latin, meaning “point, sting”, the idea being that someone with acumen has mental sharpness.
122. Construction site sight : CONE
That’s probably a cone marking a construction zone on a roadway.
125. “He loves me” pieces : PETALS
“He loves me, he loves me not” …
126. Hot times abroad : ETES
In French, “été” (summer) is “la saison chaude” (the warm season).
2. Home of Heartland of America Park : OMAHA
Heartland of America Park is a 31-acre developed public park in Omaha, Nebraska. The park opened in 1990 and is located on the site of Jobbers Canyon Historic District. The 24 buildings of the historic area were demolished in 1989, somewhat controversially.
3. Outdoor clothing entrepreneur Eddie : BAUER
The Eddie Bauer clothing chain was established in Seattle in 1920 by an outdoorsman called Eddie Bauer (unsurprisingly!). Bauer was the man who patented the first quilted down jacket, in 1940.
4. Mideast president elected the same year as the younger Bush : ASSAD
Dr. Bashar al-Assad is the current President of the Syrian Arab Republic and the son of the former President Hafez al-Assad whom he replaced in 2001. President Assad is a medical doctor, speaks fluent English and conversational French. Assad was studying ophthalmology in London when he met his wife, who is an Englishwoman.
6. Presidential nickname : ABE
Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth President of the US. There are several stories told about how he earned the nickname “Honest Abe”. One story dates back to early in his career as a lawyer. Lincoln accidentally overcharged a client and then walked miles in order to right the wrong as soon as possible.
8. Sits on the line : DRIES
That would be a washing line.
9. Godiva alternative : LINDT
The delicious Swiss chocolate sold under the Lindt brand name has its origins in a small confectionery store in Zurich in the 1840s. Lindt purchased our local chocolate company here in San Francisco (Ghirardelli) back in 1998.
Godiva is a brand of chocolates that was founded in Brussels, Belgium in 1926. The founder chose the brand name in honor of the legend of Lady Godiva.
10. Shaggy-haired bovine : YAK
The English word “yak” is an Anglicized version of the Tibetan name for the male of the species. Yak milk is much prized in the Tibetan culture. It is made into cheese and butter, and the butter is used to make a tea that is consumed in great volume by Tibetans. The butter is also used as a fuel in lamps, and during festivals the butter is even sculpted into religious icons.
12. Biker’s headgear, maybe : DO-RAG
Hip-hoppers might wear do-rags today, but they have been around for centuries. If you recall the famous image of Rosie the Riveter, she was wearing a do-rag. The etymology is pretty evident, a piece of cloth (rag) to hold a hairstyle (do) in place.
14. Legendary prophet : SIBYL
The word and name “Sibyl” comes from the Greek word “sibylla” meaning “prophetess”. There were many sibyls (prophetesses), but most famous is probably the Delphic Sibyl.
17. Waterman product : PEN
Lewis Edson Waterman founded his company to make fountain pens in 1884 in New York City. Even though he produced pens that were technically superior, his company really didn’t take off commercially until after he died and his nephew took over. However, eventually the competition caught up and Waterman had to shut its doors in 1954. The French subsidiary (now Waterman S.A.) survived, and absorbed the US and UK assets.
24. Early gaming name : ATARI
At one point, the electronics and video game manufacturer Atari was the fastest growing company in US history. However, Atari never really recovered from the video game industry crash of 1983.
30. French royal : ROI
“La reine” (the queen) is the wife of “le roi” (the king), in French.
32. Craftsman outdoor tools : EDGERS
Sears has a few long-standing, in-house brands, including Craftsman tools, Kenmore appliances and DieHard car batteries.
36. Instrument that doesn’t need tuning : KAZOO
The modern instrument we know today as the kazoo was invented by one Alabama Vest of Macon, Georgia in the 1800s. The kazoo first came to the public’s attention at the Georgia State Fair of 1852, when it was known as the “Down-South Submarine” (because of it’s shape, I would imagine).
37. “Un Ballo in Maschera” aria : ERI TU
Every crossword constructors’ favorite aria “Eri tu” is from Verdi’s opera “Un ballo in maschera” (“A Masked Ball”). The opera tells the story of the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden during a masked ball.
40. Sonic Dash publisher : SEGA
Sega is a Japanese videogame company headquartered in Tokyo. Sega actually started out 1940 in the US as Standard Games and was located in Honolulu, Hawaii. The owners moved the operation to Tokyo in 1951 and renamed the company to Service Games. The name “Sega” is a combination of the first two letters of the words “Se-rvice” and “Ga-mes”.
46. Big wheel’s wheels : ROLLS
Charles Rolls founded the Rolls-Royce auto manufacturing company along with his partner Henry Royce in 1906. Sadly, Rolls died just a few years later in a plane crash. Rolls was a pioneering aviator. He became the first Briton to die in a powered aircraft crash when the tail of his plane broke off during a flying display.
48. IPA component : ALE
India Pale Ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.
49. Sound of the Northwest : PUGET
George Vancouver was a British explorer, and an officer in the Royal Navy. As well as exploring the coast of Australia, he is best known for his travels along the northwest coast of North America. The city of Vancouver was named in his honor. Travelling with him on his American voyage was a lieutenant Peter Puget, and in his honor, Vancouver named the waters south of the Tacoma Narrows “Puget’s Sound”. Nowadays, the name Puget Sound describes an area much greater than Vancouver had envisioned.
50. Champagne flute feature : STEM
The narrow bowl of a champagne flute is preferred over the wide bowl of a champagne coupe as the smaller surface area of the wine helps retain its carbonation.
51. Café order : AU LAIT
“Café au lait” (coffee with milk) is usually strong drip coffee to which one adds steamed milk. At least that’s the way we tend to make in this country.
58. Colorful pet store purchase : TETRA
The neon tetra is a freshwater fish, native to parts of South America. The tetra is a very popular aquarium fish and millions are imported into the US every year. Almost all of the imported tetras are farm-raised in Asia and very few come from their native continent.
64. National Bike Month : MAY
National Bike Month was established in 1956, and is celebrated annually in the month of May.
66. Heads and tails : CALLS
The two sides of a coin are known as the “obverse” and the “reverse”. The obverse is commonly referred to as “heads”, as it often depicts someone’s head. The reverse is commonly called “tails”, as it is the opposite of “heads”.
67. Illegal mil. status : AWOL
The Military Police (MPs) often track down personnel who go AWOL (absent without leave).
70. Irish lullaby start : TOO-RA-
The song from Ireland called “Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral” was written in 1914 by one James Royce Shannon. The song became quite a hit after it was sung by Bing Crosby in the 1944 movie “Going My Way”.
71. Surprise in a skit : AD LIB
Ad libitum is a Latin phrase meaning “at one’s pleasure”. In common usage the phrase is usually shortened to “ad lib”. On the stage the concept of an “ad lib” is very familiar.
75. Minimum-range tide : NEAP
Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon on the oceans. At neap tide, the smaller gravitational effect of the sun cancels out some of the moon’s effect. At spring tide, the sun and the moon’s gravitational forces act in concert causing more extreme movement of the oceans.
76. Poseidon, e.g. : SEA GOD
Poseidon was the god of the sea in Greek mythology as well as the “Earth-Shaker”, the god responsible for earthquakes.
77. Ketch pair : MASTS
A ketch is a sailboat with two masts. The most forward mast is the mainmast, and is the taller of the two. The smaller mast is further aft, and is known as the mizzen mast.
79. Linney of “The Savages” : LAURA
The wonderfully talented actress Laura Linney is a native New Yorker from Manhattan. The performances of hers that I most admire are in “The Truman Show” and “Love Actually” on the big screen, and in the HBO miniseries “John Adams” on the small screen.
“The Savages” is a 2007 film starring Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman as two siblings who come together to care for their elderly father. I haven’t seen this one, but I hear good things …
82. AA or AAA : ORG
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was founded in 1935, by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith in Akron, Ohio. As the organization grew, the guiding principles established by the founders were formatted into a 12-step program that was in place by the forties.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) is a not-for-profit organization focused on lobbying, provision of automobile servicing, and selling of automobile insurance. The AAA was founded in 1902 in Chicago and published the first of its celebrated hotel guides back in 1917.
83. “College GameDay” number : STAT
There are several sports shows on ESPN called “College GameDay”, the oldest of which is the one covering college football.
87. Short bond? : MUNI
A municipal bond (muni) is one that is issued by a city or local government, or some similar agency. Munis have an advantage over other investments in that any interest earned on the bond is usually exempt from state and federal income taxes.
92. Hammered : LIT
“Hammered” and “lit” are slang terms meaning “drunk”.
99. Catcher on the range : LASSO
Our English word “lasso” comes from the Spanish “lazo”, and ultimately from the Latin “laqueum” meaning “noose, snare”.
100. Director Allen who was dubbed the “Master of Disaster” : IRWIN
The TV and movie director Irwin Allen was known as “The Master of Disaster”, as he worked on so many disaster movies. The most famous of these were “The Poseidon Adventure” and “The Towering Inferno”, both of which he produced.
103. Tiling job supply : GROUT
Grout is a thin mortar used to fill the joints between ceramic tiles. The name “grout” comes from the Old English word “gruta”, the word for a “coarse porridge” (due to the similarity in appearance of the two). Interestingly, the word “grits” comes from the same root. Grout … grits … makes sense …
106. Site of the Princess Margaret Stakes : ASCOT
Ascot Racecourse is used for thoroughbred horse racing, and is located in the town of Ascot, Berkshire in England. The course is located just six miles from Windsor Castle, and is often visited by members of the royal family. Royal Ascot is the name given to the most famous race meeting in the year, at which members of the royal family attend each day, arriving in horse-drawn carriages amidst great ceremony.
Princess Margaret was the younger daughter of UK King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and the only sibling of Queen Elizabeth II. Famously, the two sisters stayed at Windsor Castle on the outskirts of London during WWII, despite calls for them to relocate to safety in Canada. There’s a very entertaining 2015 film called “A Royal Night Out” that is a fictional account based on real events on VE Day in 1945. The movie tells of Elizabeth and Margaret being allowed to join the celebrations in London, moving through the city incognito with two army officers as chaperones. The film gives a little insight into the very different personalities of the two princesses.
107. Macbeth, when the play began : THANE
Thanes were Scottish aristocrats. The most famous thanes have to be the Shakespearean characters Macbeth (the Thane of Glamis, later Thane of Cawdor, and later King of Scotland) and MacDuff (the Thane of Fife). Other thanes in “Macbeth” are Ross, Lennox and Angus, as well as Menteith and Caithness.
111. “At Wit’s End” author Bombeck : ERMA
Erma Bombeck wrote for newspapers for about 35 years, producing more than 4,000 witty and humorous columns describing her home life in suburbia.
113. Zin kin : CAB
The Cabernet Sauvignon grape has been around since the 17th century, and is the result of a chance crossing in southwestern France of the Cabernet franc and Sauvignon blanc grapes.
Zinfandel is one of my favorite red wine varietals. It amazes me that the rich and heavy red Zinfandel comes from the same grape as does the sweet White Zinfandel.
114. “Always by their side” org. : USO
The United Service Organization (USO) was founded in 1941 at the request of FDR “to handle the on-leave recreation of the men in the armed forces”. A USO tour is undertaken by a troupe of entertainers, many of whom are big-name celebrities. A USO tour usually includes troop locations in combat zones.